Narthanasala is a perfect amalgamation of everything that was good about Telugu cinema. It stands out in every aspect of film-making…be it the art direction, the flawless performances, the masterful writing. Every. Damn. Thing.
1. This 1963 movie narrates the “Virata Parvam” in the Mahabharatam, when the Pandavas join the court of Virata Maharaju, in their 13th year of Vanavaasam .
NTR as Bruhannala(Arjuna disguised as a eunuch dance teacher)
2. It’s the story of 5 extremely gifted individuals, the Pandavas, and their beyond-the-world-beautiful, intelligent, worthy wife, Draupadi, who are to spend an year in concealment and decide to do it by serving a lowly king in disguise.
Savitri as the beautiful Draupadi.
3. It’s the story of a fearsome warrior, Keechaka, who blindly falls in love with a “daasi”(Draupadi) at his sister’s palace, loses his mind in his mad lust for her and finally loses his life in the hands of the semi-divine husbands of the “daasi”.
Keechaka (SVR) vies for Draupadi’s attention.
4. The ease of narration with which each of these stories is seamlessly connected is simply fascinating. Kamalakara Kameswara Rao (Pouraanika Chitra Brahma) takes the audience on a emotional roller-coaster!
5. The movie is remembered for some mesmerizing performances by NTR garu, Savithri, Relangi Venkata Ramaiah and Samarla Venkata Ranga Rao. Each of these actors bring their characters to life with their measured performances.
6. The music of Susarla Dakshinamoorthy, and delightful voices of Ghantasala, Janaki, Susheela and Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna give a whole new dimension to the aesthetic experience of the film.
7. With his masterful adaptation of this immortal epic for the screen, Samudrala Raghavacharyulu shows his authority on the Mahabharata and cinema!
8. There can’t be anyone who can replace this man though, whose masterful performance as Keechaka won him the Best Actor award at the Jakarta Film Festival! The legend, SVR garu!!
The film also found its place in CNN-IBN’s list of 100 Greatest Indian Movies of All Time. Narthanasala remains an evergreen epic to this day, one that cannot be forgotten for generations to come!
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